He was a bit of a shit! That’s my feeling about Peter Sellers having seen the new Geoffrey Rush movie, The Life & Death Of Peter Sellers.
The story begins with the Goons and ends just after his role in the movie, Being There, thirty years later. A lot of the film features recreations of famous moments in Seller’s acting life, such as appearing on “The Goons” or in “The Pink Panther”. There are some particularly hillarious insights into his development of the “Inspector Clouseau” character, including an explanation of why he ended up hating the character so much.
As such, it really only touches the surface of his life story, but it does give you an intense understanding of the character. A character which, in the style of Greek tragedy, had a major flaw. For me, the flaw was Seller’s total lack of confidence, perhaps due to his appearance, which he appears constantly to have overcompensated for.
Curiously enough, since Sellers is shown portraying great emotions, I was never actually moved myself, except perhaps for the occasion when he is violent towards Britt Ekland and in a particularly galling moment with his children.
The movie reaches its crescendo with Sellers’ performance in “Being There” in which it’s suggested the reason why Sellers so wanted to play the man without a personality was because he, himself, had no personality.
A few people at work commented they thought the movie was far too stylized. Although I can see their point, and I agree I was never really touched by the movie, I thought Geoffrey Rush’s performance more than made up for this. Rush plays not only Sellers, but several other characters in a Sellers-like “Dr Strangelove” kind of way, and achieves all of it with gusto. I also really enjoyed the performance of Miriam Margoyles as Sellers’ mother, Peg, with whom he seems to have enjoyed an intense, almost Oedipal relationship.
Although he (Sellers) was a total shit, I thought Geoffrey Rush’s performance was fantastic and makes the movie totally worth watching.